Around the Watershed: News and Events

Acclaimed Scientist to discuss Stream Management in the Catskills

Posted on: October 11th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Dave Rosgen, Ph.D. teaches a class about fluvial geomorphology.

Dave Ros­gen, Ph.D. teaches a class about flu­vial geomorphology.


The New York City Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion (NYC DEP) will host a pub­lic lec­ture by Dave Ros­gen, Ph.D., who is widely regarded as one of the fore­most stream man­age­ment experts in the world. His talk, “Liv­ing with Moun­tain Rivers in a Chang­ing Cli­mate” will focus on mak­ing river com­mu­ni­ties resilient to more fre­quent flood­ing as a result of cli­mate change. He will share best man­age­ment prac­tices for river man­age­ment includ­ing his approach to river restora­tion known as Nat­ural Chan­nel Design. This approach works with the nat­ural ten­den­cies of rivers to reach equi­lib­rium within the land­scape they pass through.

Ros­gen is a pro­fes­sional hydrol­o­gist and geo­mor­phol­o­gist with 49 years of expe­ri­ence work­ing in rivers. He has designed and imple­mented more than 70 large scale river restora­tion projects. His work has been fea­tured in national pub­li­ca­tions such as National Geo­graphic and the New York Times and he has authored more than five dozen reports, jour­nal arti­cles and fed­eral agency man­u­als and books. He has taught short courses in water­shed man­age­ment and river restora­tion for river man­agers through­out the coun­try for the past 25 years.

Since the mid-1990s, DEP has pro­vided nearly $200 mil­lion to fund restora­tion of nearly 50 miles of stream in the Catskills, includ­ing more than 400 indi­vid­ual projects. The projects, many of which have used Rosgen’s meth­ods, are coor­di­nated through unique part­ner­ships with local agen­cies. In Ulster County, this is done through the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) which is a part­ner­ship between Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County and the Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict. These col­lab­o­ra­tions have yielded wide-ranging ben­e­fits to local com­mu­ni­ties and to water quality.

The talk will be held at the Over­look Lodge of Bel­leayre Moun­tain, 181 Galli Curci Road in High­mount, NY on Octo­ber 21, from 7:00–9:00pm. It is free of charge and open to the pub­lic. Space is lim­ited and reg­is­tra­tion is encouraged.

Thank You for Helping us Celebrate Ashokan Watershed Month

Posted on: October 3rd, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
AWSMP staff kayak on the lake of Kenneth Wilson Campground and a section of the Little Beaver Kill during Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

AWSMP staff kayak on the lake of Ken­neth Wil­son Camp­ground and a sec­tion of the Lit­tle Beaver Kill dur­ing Ashokan Water­shed Month 2019.


The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram would like to thank every­one for par­tic­i­pat­ing in our inau­gural Ashokan Water­shed Month. Ear­lier this year, AWSMP staff devel­oped a series of ambi­tious and cre­ative pro­grams that we hoped would be of inter­est to a wide cross-section of the peo­ple who visit, live, and work in the Ashokan Reser­voir Water­shed. Now that it’s all over we believe that it was a resound­ing success!

Will Lytle reads from his new AWSMP funded children's book "Little One and the Water" at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock during Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

Will Lytle reads from his new AWSMP funded children’s book “Lit­tle One and the Water” at the Golden Note­book in Wood­stock dur­ing Ashokan Water­shed Month 2019.


The pro­grams that were offered included:

  • An En Plein Air Stream­side Paint­ing class where par­tic­i­pants learned how to use water col­ors to paint a stream scene while learn­ing about the stream fea­tures they were painting.
  • The NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion (NYC DEP) gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on Under­stand­ing Ashokan Reser­voir Oper­a­tions and explained how they are going to upgrade their infra­struc­ture in the com­ing years.
  • AWSMP part­nered with Rail Explor­ers to host a Sun­set Rail Pedal along the Eso­pus where par­tic­i­pants got to see the Eso­pus Creek from a wholly dif­fer­ent perspective.
  • At Ken­neth Wil­son Camp­ground we hosted a Water­shed Pad­dle where par­tic­i­pants got to learn about streams while float­ing on the water itself.
  • AWSMP hosted Dr. Dorothy Peteet of Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity and NASA who gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on Pale­o­cli­mate of the Catskills.
  • Both the United States Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey (USGS) and the Ashokan-Pepacton Chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited gave a pre­sen­ta­tion on the fish­eries of the Eso­pus Creek and the his­tory of fly fish­ing the area, respectively.
  • Ulster County and NYC DEP gave par­tic­i­pants a sneak peek of the Ashokan Reser­voir Rail Trail and a new appre­ci­a­tion for wet­lands dur­ing our Impor­tance of Water­shed Wet­lands walk.
  • AWSMP had not one, but two Book Sign­ings and Read­ings of “Lit­tle One and the Water,” an envi­ron­men­tally themed children’s book funded by AWSMP.
  • Finally, we rounded out the month with a Ripar­ian Buffer Plant­ing on the Beaver Kill in the Town of Wood­stock where vol­un­teers helped reveg­e­tate a stream project site and fol­lowed it up with a Clos­ing Party at the Phoeni­cia Diner.


A scene from "The Importance of Watershed Wetlands" walk and talk from Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

A scene from “The Impor­tance of Water­shed Wet­lands” walk and talk from Ashokan Water­shed Month 2019.


While we may be done with Water­shed Month pro­gram­ming you can still take part in the Ashokan Water­shed Adven­ture, a self-guided tour of impor­tant sites through­out the water­shed. Book­lets with infor­ma­tion about each of the sites are avail­able at our office or can be down­loaded. Those who do the adven­ture can still pick-up their prizes while they last.

Once again, thank you all for help­ing us cel­e­brate what makes our water­shed so unique. Be sure to check our web­site and social media accounts often to see future pro­gram­ming and hap­pen­ings from AWSMP!


Volunteers and AWSMP help plant native riparian vegetation on the site of stream restoration project along Mink Hollow during Ashokan Watershed Month 2019.

Vol­un­teers and AWSMP help plant native ripar­ian veg­e­ta­tion on the site of a stream restora­tion project along Mink Hol­low Rd. dur­ing Ashokan Water­shed Month 2019.

Help AWSMP plant a Riparian Buffer then join us for a Party!

Posted on: September 25th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Help AWSMP plant a riparian buffer this weekend and join us for the Ashokan Watershed Month Closing Party!

Help AWSMP plant a ripar­ian buffer this week­end and join us for the Ashokan Water­shed Month Clos­ing Party!


The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) hopes you had great time cel­e­brat­ing Ashokan Water­shed Month with us. Now we need your help with our last pro­gram to close out the celebrations!

Join us this Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 28, and help us plant a ripar­ian buffer at the site of a stream restora­tion project in the Town of Wood­stock. Meet us at the inter­sec­tion of Mink Hol­low Road and Van Hoagland Road near Lake Hill, NY at 10:00am. AWSMP staff will direct you where to park. From 10:00am to approx­i­mately 2:00pm we will be plant­ing native ripar­ian plants along a stream­bank. Water and some light refresh­ments will be on hand.

After the plant­ing is over we hope that you can join us at the Phoeni­cia Diner, located at 5681 State Route 28 in Phoeni­cia for a Clos­ing Party. We will be located out­side in the Phoenica Diner’s “Lot.” Par­tic­i­pants will be given a voucher to help pay for food from the Phoeni­cia Diner’s Airstream Food Truck. The Clos­ing Party will be approx­i­mately one hour in length.

Par­tic­i­pants in the plant­ing will also receive an Ashokan Water­shed Month reusable tote bag. Any­one is wel­come to par­tic­i­pate in the Plant­ing and Clos­ing Party but reg­is­tra­tion is required. We look for­ward to see­ing you on Sat­ur­day to get your hands dirty help­ing the envi­ron­ment and to cel­e­brate the end of Ashokan Water­shed Month!

AWSMP learned about Fisheries and Fly Fishing at the Catskills Visitors Center

Posted on: September 24th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Scott George USGS

Scott George, fish­eries biol­o­gist with USGS, talks about fish of the upper Eso­pus Creek.


The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram (AWSMP) learned about the state of Eso­pus Creek fish­eries and the his­tory of fly fish­ing in the Catskills at the “Eso­pus Creek Fish and Fly Fish­ing Demon­stra­tion” held at the Catskills Vis­i­tor Cen­ter on Fri­day, Sep­tem­ber 20. This event was part of AWSMP’s Ashokan Water­shed Month series of programs.

Scott George of the United States Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey (USGS) started off with a pre­sen­ta­tion on the research that USGS has done on the Eso­pus. He explained that after events like Trop­i­cal Storm Irene, which dev­as­tated the area in 2011, they expected the fish­ery to be in decline in the years that fol­lowed. Quite to the con­trary they found that the fish­ery rebounded quickly after the flood and actu­ally did bet­ter than in some years imme­di­ately prior to the flood. While there is no defin­i­tive answer on why this is, George sus­pects the move­ment of sed­i­ment dur­ing the flood may have cov­ered over or cleaned away some fine deposits, which pro­vided a bet­ter sub­strate for spawning.

Fly Fishing Instruction 9-2019

Mark Loete, owner of Catskill Moun­tain Fly Fish­ing Guid­ing and Instruc­tion and Trout Unlim­ited mem­ber, demon­strates how to cast with a fly rod.


Fol­low­ing this Mark Loete of the Ashokan-Pepacton Chap­ter of Trout Unlim­ited gave a talk about the his­tory of fly fish­ing around the world and more specif­i­cally about fly fish­ing the Eso­pus Creek. He explained that the Eso­pus Creek is the birth­place of Amer­i­can fly fish­ing, made pop­u­lar by anglers like Theodore Gor­don and depicted by artists of the Hud­son River School like Asher Durand. At the end of the pro­gram he gave par­tic­i­pants a short les­son on how to prop­erly cast a fly rod.

There are still a few pro­grams left for Ashokan Water­shed Month. Be sure to check them out by vis­it­ing our web­site.

Watershed Residents Rode the Rails with AWSMP and Rail Explorers

Posted on: September 13th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
One of the many happy families participating the "Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus" program. Photo by Chet Karwatowski

One of the many happy fam­i­lies par­tic­i­pat­ing in the “Sun­set Rail Pedal along the Eso­pus” pro­gram. Photo by Chet Karwatowski


Ashokan Water­shed res­i­dents had the oppor­tu­nity to expe­ri­ence the Eso­pus Creek like few oth­ers have before. On Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 12, par­tic­i­pants came out to the Rail Explor­ers Catskill Divi­sion in Phoeni­cia to have the unique expe­ri­ence of rid­ing a Rail Explor­ers rail car and also learn about the Eso­pus Creek. After some open­ing remarks from AWSMP and a safety talk from Rail Explor­ers, par­tic­i­pants set out on the 8-mile round trip tour on rail­road tracks that mostly par­al­lel the Eso­pus Creek. Dur­ing a reg­u­lar Rail Explor­ers tour, par­tic­i­pants make only one stop to turn the cars around for the return jour­ney. AWSMP worked with Rail Explor­ers to find two addi­tional stops so edu­ca­tors could talk about stream man­age­ment topics.

Participants in the "Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus" listen to Aaron Bennett of the Ulster County Department of the Environment talk about flood mitigation actions occurring near the Route 28 Bridge (in background) in Mount Tremper. Photo by Chet Karwatowski

Par­tic­i­pants in the “Sun­set Rail Pedal along the Eso­pus” lis­ten to Aaron Ben­nett of the Ulster County Depart­ment of the Envi­ron­ment talk about flood mit­i­ga­tion actions occur­ring near the Route 28 Bridge (in back­ground) in Mount Trem­per. Photo by Chet Karwatowski


The first stop was roughly across the the Route 28 Bridge in Mount Trem­per where Aaron Ben­nett of the Ulster County Depart­ment of the Envi­ron­ment spoke about the flood mit­i­ga­tion activ­i­ties going on there. He explained about how the NYS Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (NYSDOT) is work­ing with the the Town of Shan­daken to help make that area less sus­cep­ti­ble to flood­ing. NYSDOT is replac­ing the Mount Trem­per Bridge with a larger and wider span that will lower flood ele­va­tions in the area. To do this they are work­ing with the Town of Shan­daken and the NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion (NYC DEP) to acquire prop­er­ties in that area so this project can be com­pleted. The bridge is expected to be replaced begin­ning next year and be com­pleted in 2021. The new bridge will be con­structed imme­di­ately down­stream of the old one so no detour will be nec­es­sary dur­ing construction.

Adam Doan of the Ulster County Soil and Water Conservation District talks about stream assessment protocols during the "Sunset Rail Pedal along the Esopus" program.

Adam Doan of the Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict talks about stream assess­ment dur­ing the “Sun­set Rail Pedal along the Eso­pus” program.


At the turn­around loca­tion, Adam Doan of the Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict spoke about the stream assess­ment work that AWSMP does. He explained how AWSMP tech­ni­cians walk a stream and col­lect data and how that data is used to make man­age­ment rec­om­men­da­tions. He also talked about the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI) pro­gram and how qual­i­fy­ing landown­ers can access free native ripar­ian plants to reveg­e­tate their stream­banks. Adam described stud­ies and restora­tion projects done in the Stony Clove Creek (a trib­u­tary to the Eso­pus Creek) to improve stream sta­bil­ity and water quality.

Adam Doan Presents along Esopus Creek

Adam Doan of the Ulster County Soil and Water Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict talks about ero­sion, road-stream cross­ings, and the washout of the rail tracks dur­ing Trop­i­cal Storm Irene dur­ing the “Rail Pedal Along the Eso­pus” program.


On the return leg of the trip, both Adam and Aaron talked about the washout of the train tracks that occurred near the Phoeni­cia Plaza on Route 28 and the process of ero­sion. They explained the impor­tance of good road-stream cross­ings and how AWSMP tech­ni­cians have assessed pub­lic cross­ings in the water­shed. They also men­tioned the impor­tance of wood in the flood­plain and the habi­tat and sta­bil­ity that it pro­vides to the stream.

Finally, at the end of the trip, par­tic­i­pants were invited to a short recep­tion at the nearby Empire State Rail­way Museum where each par­tic­i­pant received a reusable tote bag and addi­tional edu­ca­tional material.

This pro­gram was a part of Ashokan Water­shed Month which con­tin­ues through­out the month of Sep­tem­ber. Upcom­ing pro­grams include a “Water­shed Pad­dle” at Ken­neth Wil­son Camp­ground and a Book Sign­ing and Read­ing in Wood­stock. Please visit out Ashokan Water­shed Month web­page for addi­tional infor­ma­tion about this and other upcom­ing events.

Sunset over Esopus Creek

A sun­set over the Eso­pus dur­ing the “Sun­set Rail Pedal along the Eso­pus” program.

Ashokan Watershed Residents Learn about Watershed Infrastructure

Posted on: September 10th, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
Adam Bosch, Director of Public Affairs for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, gives a presentation on NYC watershed infrastructure during the "Understanding Ashokan Reservoir Operations" program.

Adam Bosch, Direc­tor of Pub­lic Affairs for the NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, gives a pre­sen­ta­tion on NYC water­shed infra­struc­ture dur­ing the “Under­stand­ing Ashokan Reser­voir Oper­a­tions” program.


Did you know the largest pub­lic works project in the Catskills in more than 50 years is being planned? Atten­dees learned this and more about how water makes the 92-mile jour­ney from upstate New York to New York City dur­ing the “Under­stand­ing Ashokan Reser­voir Oper­a­tions” pro­gram hosted by AWSMP on Mon­day, Sep­tem­ber 9. That evening, NYC Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion (NYC DEP) Direc­tor of Pub­lic Affairs Adam Bosch gave a detailed pre­sen­ta­tion on the his­tory of NYC’s water­shed, cur­rent oper­a­tions, and the future plans that NYC DEP has to upgrade that infrastructure.

He started off with a his­tor­i­cal overview of NYC’s water sup­ply, from the ear­li­est wells that the city used, to the engi­neer­ing mar­vels that are the Catskill and Delaware Sys­tems. He went on to describe the impor­tant work done by hun­dreds of NYC DEP employ­ees that work to ensure that clean water is deliv­ered to NYC res­i­dents. These include sci­en­tists that ana­lyze thou­sands of water sam­ples each year to ensure there are no harm­ful pathogens in the water, police forces that pro­tect the water sup­ply, main­te­nance crews that ensure the infra­struc­ture is in good work­ing order, engi­neers who design new infra­struc­ture projects, and other efforts.

Of par­tic­u­lar note, he talked about how NYC DEP plans to reha­bil­i­tate the Catskill Aque­duct, which extends about 74 miles from the Ashokan Reser­voir to the Ken­sico Reser­voir in Westch­ester County. His­tor­i­cally, this aque­duct has had a capac­ity of 660 mil­lion gal­lons of water a day but has been reduced to approx­i­mately 590 mil­lion gal­lons a day due to a buildup of biofilms. Biofilms are harm­less bac­te­ria that have fil­a­ments that feed off of the nat­u­rally occur­ring iron and man­ganese in the water. Their growth has cre­ated fric­tion in the aque­duct that slows the flow of water. Between 2019 and 2020, NYC is plan­ning on peri­od­i­cally shut­ting down the aque­duct and send­ing crews down to remove the biofilm.

He ended his pre­sen­ta­tion by talk­ing about the Ashokan Cen­tury Pro­gram. This will be an approx­i­mately 10-year, $1 bil­lion project to begin in 2023. It will be the largest pub­lic works project in the Catskills in more than 50 years. It will include upgrades in and around the Ashokan Reser­voir includ­ing the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of the Olive­bridge dam and dikes, the spill­way, divid­ing weir bridge, intake cham­bers, and J. Waldo Smith Monument.

Any­one inter­ested in the pre­sen­ta­tion can view it by click­ing this link.

This pro­gram was part of Ashokan Water­shed Month, which is a series of pro­grams run­ning through­out the month of Sep­tem­ber. Our next pro­gram, the “Sun­set Rail Pedal along the Eso­pus,” will be this Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 12. Other upcom­ing pro­grams include a “Water­shed Pad­dle” on Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 14 as well as a “Book Sign­ing and Read­ing” also on Sep­tem­ber 14. Please visit our web­page devoted to Ashokan Water­shed Month for more infor­ma­tion on these and other upcom­ing pro­grams for the month.

Plein-air Streamside Painting Kicked Off Ashokan Watershed Month

Posted on: September 5th, 2019 by Tim Koch
Plein-air painting participants show off their work on the banks of the Esopus.

Plein-air paint­ing par­tic­i­pants show off their work on the banks of the Esopus.

Ashokan Water­shed Month offi­cially kicked off yes­ter­day with the Plein-air Stream­side Paint­ing work­shop. Plein-air means “out­doors” in French, and yes­ter­day 16 par­tic­i­pants met at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian to paint the Eso­pus Creek, en plein-air.

AWSMP Stream Edu­ca­tor Tim Koch kicked things off with a dis­cus­sion of the stream fea­tures in the scene and how stream process may inform paint­ing tech­nique. For exam­ple, pools are stream fea­tures with deep, flat water that read­ily reflect the sky and any over­hang­ing ripar­ian veg­e­ta­tion. Rif­fles on the other hand are shal­low and tur­bu­lent fea­tures where por­tray­ing move­ment is a key ele­ment of stream paint­ing. Many streams have repeat­ing riffle-pool sequences that cre­ate a visu­ally appeal­ing pat­tern — per­fect for painting.

AWSMP Stream Educator Tim Koch gets excited talking about stream features.

AWSMP Stream Edu­ca­tor Tim Koch gets excited talk­ing about stream features.

Local artist and paint­ing instruc­tor Joyce Washor then led stu­dents through the con­cepts of lim­ited color the­ory, scene com­po­si­tion, per­spec­tive, and water color brush techniques.

Artist Joyce Washor demonstrates the "wet on wet" water color painting technique.

Artist Joyce Washor demon­strates the “wet on wet” water color paint­ing technique.

Using Joyce’s pen­cil sketch as a guide, each stu­dent brought the Eso­pus Creek scene to life in their unique way.


Despite the threat of rain, a great time was had by all inte­grat­ing stream sci­ence and art.

Next up for Ashokan Water­shed Month is a pre­sen­ta­tion on Ashokan Reser­voir Oper­a­tions given by Adam Bosch, Direc­tor of Pub­lic Affairs for the NYC DEP. This pop­u­lar talk will be held at the AWSMP Office on Mon­day, Sep­tem­ber 9th from 6-8pm. Visit AWSMP’s Ashokan Water­shed Month web­page to register.

Register Now: Plein Air Painting Streamside!

Posted on: August 29th, 2019 by Leslie_Zucker

On Wednes­day, Sep­tem­ber 4 at 10am, join the Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram and local artist Joyce Washor to learn about Catskill streams and how to paint them.

Led by art teacher and water­color artist Joyce Washor and stream edu­ca­tor Tim Koch, the pro­gram includes art sup­plies and a packet of instruc­tional hand­outs. We’ll paint en plein air next to the beau­ti­ful upper Eso­pus Creek at the equally stun­ning Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY.

Watercolor Painting of Stream by Joyce Washor

Water­color Paint­ing of Stream by Joyce Washor

Joyce will lead begin­ner through inter­me­di­ate painters through the steps nec­es­sary to paint a stream. The train­ing will cover the basics of water­color paint­ing, such as how to mix and apply color, use of per­spec­tive, com­po­si­tion, and more. We’ll also learn about the typ­i­cal fea­tures of streams to deepen our knowl­edge of what we’re painting.

The event will be held from 10am-1pm at the Full Moon Resort, 12 Val­ley View Road, Big Indian, NY. A charge of $10 cov­ers art sup­plies (finan­cial assis­tance is avail­able, please call Linda at 845–688-3047). Reg­is­ter at:

The month of Sep­tem­ber is Ashokan Water­shed Month! For a full event list­ing, visit

Cor­nell Coop­er­a­tive Exten­sion of Ulster County pro­vides equal pro­gram and employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties. Please con­tact the stream pro­gram office at 845–688‑3047 if you have any spe­cial needs.

Look for AWSMP at Upcoming Community Days

Posted on: August 23rd, 2019 by Brent Gotsch
AWSMP/CCEUC educator Amanda Cabanillas talks with Shandaken resident Doris Nieves at the 2019 Shandaken Day event

AWSMP/CCEUC edu­ca­tor Amanda Caban­il­las talks with Shan­daken res­i­dent Doris Nieves at the 2019 Shan­daken Day event


AWSMP works hard to offer com­mu­nity edu­ca­tion. To that end we try to attend as many local events, fairs, and fes­ti­vals as pos­si­ble to get the word out about the impor­tance of stream management.

Recently, AWSMP attended Shan­daken Day held on August 17 on the grounds of the Catskills Vis­i­tor Cen­ter in Mount Trem­per, NY. Edu­ca­tors had a table with fact­sheets that con­tained infor­ma­tion on a vari­ety of top­ics related to stream man­age­ment. This year edu­ca­tors high­lighted the impor­tance of native ripar­ian plants. This is because the Catskills Vis­i­tor Cen­ter is the loca­tion of an AWSMP ripar­ian buffer plant­ing that the staff were eager to show-off. Atten­dees learned about the impor­tance of ripar­ian buffers and the need to con­trol inva­sive species using the nearby buffer as an exam­ple of what their own stream­bank could look like.

Atten­dees also picked up infor­ma­tion about the Catskill Streams Buffer Ini­tia­tive (CSBI), a pro­gram that offers NYC Water­shed res­i­dents with stream­side prop­erty the abil­ity to obtain, free of charge, ripar­ian plants native to the Catskills so that stream­banks can be reveg­e­tated. Veg­e­tated stream­banks are less sus­cep­ti­ble to ero­sion and pro­vide bet­ter habi­tat than stream­banks that are mowed or hard­ened with rock.

Look for AWSMP at Olive Day, which will be held on Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 7 at Lester Davis Park in West Shokan, NY. AWSMP also plans to be at Longyear Farm Day, which will be held on Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 12 at the Longyear Farm in Wood­stock, NY. We look for­ward to see­ing you all there!


AWSMP/CCEUC Youth Educator Matt Savatgy congratulates a youth who successfully completed the backyard fishing game at Olive Day 2018.

AWSMP/CCEUC Youth Edu­ca­tor Matt Savatgy con­grat­u­lates a young per­son who suc­cess­fully com­pleted the back­yard fish­ing game at Olive Day 2018.


HEC-RAS Workshop a Success!

Posted on: August 16th, 2019 by Tim Koch

The Ashokan Water­shed Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram recently hosted a three-day work­shop on how to use HEC-RAS, a pow­er­ful com­puter pro­gram used to model flow in stream chan­nels. HEC-RAS is an acronym for the Hydro­logic Engi­neer­ing Center’s River Analy­sis Sys­tem. First released in 1995, its capa­bil­i­ties have grown sig­nif­i­cantly over time. HEC-RAS is now on its fifth ver­sion. It is often used to delin­eate the extent of the 1% annual chance flood­plain (aka, the 100-year flood­plain) among other reg­u­la­tory, tech­ni­cal, and envi­ron­men­tal uses.

Workshop participants use digital models of the terrain to help model how rivers behave during flood events.

Work­shop par­tic­i­pants use dig­i­tal mod­els of the ter­rain to help model how rivers behave dur­ing flood events.

This 3-day work­shop focused on using HEC-RAS to aid in the assess­ment and design of bridges and cul­verts. Milone and MacB­room, Inc. (MMI) were con­tracted to con­duct the hands-on work­shop to an audi­ence of twenty peo­ple. Par­tic­i­pants included staff and man­agers from County Depart­ments of Pub­lic Works and Town High­way Depart­ments within the West of Hud­son Water Sup­ply water­sheds. Oth­ers in atten­dance included flood haz­ard mit­i­ga­tion per­son­nel from NYC DEP, Stream Man­age­ment Pro­gram staff, DEC hydrol­o­gists, and folks from Riverkeeper.

HEC-RAS requires site-specific input data to accu­rately model flows and floods. Thus, the work­shop had a field com­po­nent where peo­ple were taught where to place stream cross sec­tions in rela­tion to the bridge, how to con­duct peb­ble counts to deter­mine size dis­tri­b­u­tion of sed­i­ment par­ti­cles on the stream bed, and how to mea­sure spe­cific com­po­nents of bridges and cul­verts required to build a HEC-RAS model. Only local data were used, and the work­shop cen­tered around mod­el­ing exist­ing con­di­tions and pro­posed alter­na­tives for an under-sized bridge in the Ashokan Reser­voir watershed.

Workshop participants investigate the Fox Hollow Road bridge over the Esopus Creek. Measurements taken on site were used to model different bridge replacement scenarios in order to increase community resilience during floods.

Work­shop par­tic­i­pants inves­ti­gate the Fox Hol­low Road bridge over the Eso­pus Creek. Mea­sure­ments taken on site were used to model dif­fer­ent bridge replace­ment sce­nar­ios in order to increase com­mu­nity resilience dur­ing floods.

It is impor­tant that bridges and cul­verts are sized prop­erly to pass flows that the struc­ture is likely to see over the course of its life. Under­sized bridges and cul­verts not only worsen flood­ing, but also frag­ment aquatic ecosys­tems and can cre­ate insta­bil­ity in the stream chan­nel that can prop­a­gate sig­nif­i­cant dis­tances upstream and down­stream from the struc­ture and lead to other damage.

This work­shop was aimed at empow­er­ing local engi­neers and high­way depart­ment staff to make informed deci­sions when man­ag­ing road-stream cross­ings (i.e., bridges and cul­verts.) Prop­erly sized cross­ings help to increase com­mu­nity resilience to cli­mate change, improve aquatic habi­tat, and help to main­tain water qual­ity in the Eso­pus Creek and its tributaries.